Trickle-Down McCain

So one John McCain gave a speech yesterday outlining his economic agenda should he be elected this fall. Much of what he said will add nicely to this McCain Flip Flop List.

Check out this nonsense. It’s all well and good to blame “speculators” and “those who act irresponsibly,” but shouldn’t you take part of the blame when you were in a position to help pass regulations prohibiting these sorts of things and instead you did nothing?

Here’s the list in case the Think Progress link eventually expires:

  • McCain voted against discouraging predatory lending practices. In 2005, McCain voted against an amendment prohibiting law-breaking high-cost predatory mortgage lenders from collecting funds from homeowners who are forced into bankruptcy court. [S. 256, 3/03/05]
  • McCain failed to vote on bill to overhaul mortgage lending practices of FHA. In 2007, McCain failed to vote on passage of a bill that would overhaul the mortgage lending practices of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The bill would reduce the required minimum down payment for an FHA-insured loan and simplify its calculation, requiring a flat 1.5 percent of the appraised value of the home. [S. 2338, 12/14/07]
  • McCain failed to sign on to Truth in Lending Act. Less than four months ago, McCain failed to sign on to this bipartisan initiative providing protection to consumers taking out home mortgage loans. Among other measures, it was designed to “establish new lending standards to ensure that loans are affordable and fair.” McCain also refused to co-sponsor this legislation in the 107th Congress as well. [S. 2452, 12/12/2007]

McCain, from his own website, also wants to cut corporate tax from 35 percent to 25 percent, and wants to keep the Bush tax cuts. According to studies cited by this article at AlterNet, that would reduce the US Treasury’s annual revenue by over one TRILLION dollars a year. How does McCain plan to make up for that shortfall when we’re already facing record deficits?


Those damn earmarks.

OK, so that’s $18 billion, or if you want to give McCain’s economic advisers the benefit of the doubt, $60 billion. Um, and I’ll get to those “economic advisers” in a minute… Yep. So that leaves only $940,000,000,000 to make up. Oh, and don’t forget he wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years at least. So that’s going to need just a little funding, huh? Not to mention more bodies. Guess we don’t need to worry about population growth in the US, especially if we need to institute a draft.

Why would we need a draft? Well, consider that Dick Cheney just got back from Saudi Arabia and got everyone all stirred up about an Iranian nuclear bomb, and right after he left, according to this Bloomberg report, Arab News noted that Saudi Arabia immediately began work on nuclear fallout planning.

Saudi Arabia is working on an emergency plan to prevent damage if Iran’s nuclear reactors across the Persian Gulf are bombed, Arab News reported, citing a member of an unelected body that advises the country’s king.

Do they know something we don’t know?

So. Basically, we know what McCain’s economic plan must be, since he plans to give even more tax breaks to corporations while at the same time raising spending and decreasing overall revenue to the Treasury. Put it on the backs of the middle class. The Center for American Progress also analyzed McCain’s plan, and came up with this:

McCain’s tax plan, Gordon and Kvaal said, would cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, delivering 58 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent of taxpayers and 4 percent of benefits to the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers.

It’s called Trickle-Down Economics, and Republicans have been trying it for decades, each time they come into power, and it hasn’t worked yet.

So why continue the failed Republican Economic Policies of the past decade (or more)? Well, it’s probably due to the fact that McCain himself admits he doesn’t know much about economics. So he has a kick-ass team of advisers. You know, guys like Kevin Hassett, who wrote wrote a book back in 2000 that predicted the stock market would soar to 36000 within the decade.

Hmmmm… Less than two years left. Think he and McCain can pull it off?

Chris Matthews — Insane?

You just have to wonder sometimes. I’ve wondered for a long time about Chris Matthews. His penchant for analyzing politicians based on how they’re dressed or their tone of voice (rather than their policies) is renowned. However, recently he’s begun to exhibit very strange behavior on air. Perhaps he is suffering from some kind of dementia? I’m talking about incidents like this one last fall where he beckoned a female CNBC anchor to “come closer” to the camera so he could get a good look at her. Then there was the time when e-mails started to circulate about Obama’s supposed connection to Islam, and Matthews couldn’t seem to get the story straight as he perpetuated that idea that we just didn’t know Obama’s religion (he’s Christian).

Most recently, there’s the dirty dancing bit where he gets much too touchy-feely with Ellen while a guest on her show. Actually, his mysoginy is well documented.

But then there’s this. Chris Matthews going off on the Clintons, once again: “We’re stuck in Iraq; 4,000 people are dead now because of decisions made by politicians like the Clintons.” Ah. I see. It’s all becoming so clear to me now. It’s the CLINTONS that got us involved in Iraq. Wow. How was I so deluded for the past five years? And all this time I thought it was George W. Bush who kicked the inspectors out of Iraq so he could start ‘shock-ing’ and ‘awe-ing?’

Now, I’ve heard the right-wing talking heads blame the Clintons for just about everything, but this comment from Matthews just totally takes the cake. Takes the cake, the candles, the tablecloth, chairs, etc.

The Surge is Working!

The New York Times reported this morning that “as many as 20 mortar shells were fired Sunday at the heavily fortified Green Zone, one of the fiercest and most sustained attacks on the area in the last year.” I am so sick of hearing Republicans talk about how the surge is “working.” How do you figure? More troops may have tamped things down temporarily, but the underlying issues all remain. Nothing’s changed. How many more have to die for us to appreciate the folly of this misadventure? How many more children have to grow up without parents? The economy may end up being the primary issue in the coming election, but McCain is going to get *crushed* on the war. And deservedly so.

The True Dream Ticket

Bill Richardson has endorsed Barack Obama. As it’s very clear that Richardson is hoping to get the Veep nod, the endorsement strike me as highly significant. Hillary has tried to slough it off, but I believe that this is the harbinger of more superdelegates moving into the Obama column, particularly in recognition of the fact that it is a mathematical impossibility for Hillary to pass Obama in the delegate count. And while there’s been plenty of talk about Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama being the dream ticket, why should Obama saddle himself with Clinton’s baggage (not that she’d accept the offer). Obama-Richardson: Now there’s a true dream ticket.

Obama’s Race Speech: Score from 1 to 10?

Answer: 7

I thought as a specimen of rhetoric it was masterful. But I can’t go higher than 7 because of his unwillingness to throw his pastor under the bus. I appreciate that he was trying to thread the needle and make us all understand that people are not all good or all bad, and we have to try to bring people along to the extent that they fall down. But at some point, lines are crossed, and while we might not completely cut a person off — if they’re our grandmother, for example — we certainly can — and must — throw them under the bus. “I appreciate that Hitler is flawed, and that whole nastiness in Dachau…see…that was just extreme. But I can no more disown my leader than I can disown my own grandmother who used to talk about how Jews are good with money because they have a 207th bone — the money bone.” Ummm….you can, actually.

Not that I’m going to vote for McCain or anything. I haven’t *completely* lost my mind.

UPDATE (March 21, 2008):  We all make mistakes.  After pondering Obama’s words over the past couple of days, and watching the speech again, I have to conclude that my initial reaction was incorrect.  Obama made no missteps and I can find no fault whatsoever in his speech on race.  It was the type of political speech the likes of which we have not heard since perhaps Truman:  candid, honest, nuanced.  As Gov. Richardson noted in his endorsement speech today, he spoke to us like we were *adults*.  Politicians don’t do much of that in general, and certainly not with respect to issues of race, when happy horse shit platitudes are always the order of the day.  (Why risk being called a racist?  Witness the lambasting that Ferraro has taken for a comment that was moronic and wrong, but surely not racist.)  Yes, his pastor engaged in the most extreme flavors of hyperbole.  Is it excusable?  No.  But when a country as great as ours simply refuses to engage in an honest dialogue about race for decade upon decade, perhaps extreme rhetoric is required to wake people up and at least get some sort of reaction out of them.  Yes, I wish all of our leaders could be MLKs.  But sometimes it requires a Malcolm X to wake people out of their slumber.

Are We About to See a New Deal II?

I know there’s a palpable fear out there about government getting too large, particularly in light of how the Bush administration has grown it since 9/11, but is there a possibility that we could be on the verge of another New Deal? This op-ed piece in mentions the possibility, while talking about the “Crash of Republican Economics.” It’s pretty clear that the “hands-off” approach hasn’t worked, and the right-wing conservatives have given it several tries now. Voodoo Economics, indeed.

As I have come to understand (thanks to my fellow blogger here), what initially looks like a corporate bailout to Bear Stearns by the government is actually an attempt to stop a chain reaction, and could eventually make money for the Treasury in the long run.

With more and more US citizens seeing that trickle-down economics and runaway capitalism hasn’t worked, could there actually be a change of attitudes brewing where people start to realize that government can possibly have a positive impact on people’s lives? If corporations can have a safety blanket, why can’t people? But that’s not really what the article was about. As I’ve been mentioning for a long time now, it might be the time for a massive government investment in infrastructure revitalization that would create jobs and perform some much needed work across America. We have quickly forgotten about our crumbling bridges, and the rebuilding of our schools takes a back seat to declining home values, a credit crunch, and possible recession. When is the last time you heard about the percentage of bridges that are unsafe in this country? Perhaps two weeks after the Minneapolis bridge collapse back in 2007? At most? Just today, a huge section of I-95 going through Philadelphia is closed due to a massive crack in a key pillar. Another article I read noted that it was fortuitous that a bridge inspector noticed a small crack had expanded recently, and the bridge was closed off for repairs immediately. Now, take a look at that column. Is there any DOUBT that the bridge should be closed off??

Another bridge is bound to fall. Will that be the time for another New Deal? If the government is investing in business, why can’t it invest in its people? Now might be the time. The climate is changing. I’m not buying into all this “worst time since the Great Depression” talk, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some drastic preemptive action before it gets here. To those of us in the middle class, it certainly is starting to seem like the walls are closing around us financially. Government in debt, dollar at an all time low resulting in higher prices on imported goods (and what isn’t imported these days?)… Fuel prices at an all time high, home values plummeting, infrastructure crumbling, banks reluctant to loan money in light of recent losses, causing an even greater housing slump… It just goes on and on. It’s time for something new, and if America will ever be ready for a New Deal II, if not now, when?